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USB devices pose major security risk to industrial plants

(Image credit: Image Credit: EsaRiutta / Pixabay)

Forget earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. The real threat to industrial facilities comes in a much smaller form factor.

Honeywell just released a report saying removable USB media devices pose a ‘significant, and intentional, cybersecurity threat’ to a wide array of industrial process control network.

The report says that almost half of all analysed USBs have had at least one file that was blocked due to a security issue. A quarter (26 per cent) of those detected were capable of wreaking serious havoc, causing operators to lose visibility, or control, of their operations.

All kinds of facilities are exposed, from refineries, to chemical plants and pulp-and-paper manufacturers everywhere. In roughly 15 per cent of the cases, IoT devices were under attack.

“The data showed much more serious threats than we expected, and taken together, the results indicate that a number of these threats were targeted and intentional,” said Eric Knapp, director of strategic innovation, Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security.

“This research confirms what we have suspected for years – USB threats are real for industrial operators. What is surprising is the scope and severity of the threats, many of which can lead to serious and dangerous situations at sites that handle industrial processes.”

TRITON and Mirai, as well as variants of Stuxnet were among the detected threats.

You can find more about the report on this link (opens in new tab).

Image Credit: EsaRiutta / Pixabay

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.